Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Problem with Resolutions and Goals

As a Christian, I am always impressed with God's gift and allotment of time. It is so interesting.... we live in a linear world at this time...one day we will be non-linear and I am convinced that we don't understand either one.
Why are resolutions and goal setting processes so unsatisfying? Because we live under a curse- time is running out and our mortal lives are is a steady rate of natural decay. 
As soon as we make some progress in one area, we look around and find so many other areas that have suffered.
This does not mean that we don't set goals or put in plan a process for improvement.... to do nothing is WORSE. But I have a system that I follow that has helped me find a good pace and perspective of these actions.
STEP #1 - WRITE A LIFE PLAN
Daniel Harkavy is a pro. He and his ‘coaches’ make a lot of money going into companies and helping them improve in areas of business and profitability.But Harvaky and his group (www.becomingacoachingleader.com) WILL NOT move into business planning UNTIL the client writes a ‘Life Plan’.
 Harvaky writes: “Most people initially discount the ‘life planning’ part of our coaching process…they say to us ‘We don’t want any of that fluffy (life planning) stuff’… but since ‘life planning is non-negotiable with us (they have to do it). Most of the time they end up telling us how glad they are that they went through the process. Immediately after completing their LIFE PLAN, they consistently tell us that they have already received their money’s worth… (pg. 58).
So why is the big plan so important, and why do groups like Harkavy’s choose this approach over ‘goal-setting’?
Because goal setting is endless. It creates frustration when we fall short. It creates momentary exhilaration when we achieve them- but always has a ‘let down’ afterward. And it can create a life where we set goals for simply ‘achieving a goal’ but the goal may not be a wise course of action for our time or priorities.
I find this in almost every instance. When we won the football state championship in 1998- the quest began for the next one- we did it again in ‘99, but it seemed less enjoyable and then we did not do it again until 2003…… were all of those other teams unsuccessful?
Hal Higdon has an entire section in his book, “Marathon- The Ultimate Training Guide” devoted to ‘Post-marathon Blues”.“We focus our lives on this one event for 5 months- and then its done” reflects a Melbourne Beach, Florida runner “Now what?”
NOTHING WRONG WITH GOALS- But instead...think about “Achievement” and “Success”
As a football coach, around 2005 or so, I began to try and differentiate the difference between ‘success’ and ‘achievement’. This was spurred on by a conversation I had with Coach David Cutcliffe.To me ‘Success’ is when you live and conduct your affairs in line with your ultimate call or mission.‘Achievement’ is the accomplishment of achieving short and long term goals. 
Example: For a football team, I define achievement as : 7 win regular season- playoff qualification- region championship- perfect regular season- advancement in the playoffs- making the championship game- winning the state title- ALL NOBLE AND FUN ACHIEVEMENTS. And you may or may not hit some or all of those.
But SUCCESS were things like: Did we become a team? Did we learn to fight? Did we learn to love our brothers? Did we learn to sacrifice? Did we play with class and character? Did we learn to persevere? Did we learn how to finish? Did we learn how to improve every week? Did our leaders lead? Did our team follow coaching and leadership? These provide a way to be successful EVERY SEASON.
If these are true: You can have achievement WITHOUT SUCCESS and you can SUCCEED without achievement. And if I had to choose… I choose ‘success’ but usually, they go hand in hand.
This is why goals WITHIN the context of a life plan makes more sense. If the ‘Mission’ is in clear view- the goals serve to be a tool of support and the exhilaration comes in the stream of walking in your ultimate purpose!
ONE MORE STEP ACROSS THE LINE……
In ‘Ages of Faith’, Alex de Tocqueville wrote, “the final aim of life is placed beyond life”.
For a Christian believer, the life plan HAS to have the finish line past the mortal end.
The PLAN or MISSION keeps you on task…. without an ULTIMATE AIM, you are likely to be living reactive…less proactive… frequently distracted… doubling back… or in Bible language – children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.(Ephesians 4:14 ESV)
I love the definition Harvaky uses about a LIFE PLAN:
‘In essence, Life Planning is nothing but a process of accumulating net worth in THE MOST IMPORTANT ACCOUNTS OF YOUR LIFE!”
Harvaky Life Plan Process:
  • Identifying IMPORTANT accounts (spouse, family, spiritual life, health, service, career, fun, vacation, charity, dreams, community, finance, development, etc)
  • Writing Action Steps to fulfill a ‘vision’ for these accounts
  • Prioritizing time/goals/decisions in light of ALL the important accounts
  • Write/ Review/ Adjust/ Share/ Teach your plan
 in 2014, I developed an entire devotional series around developing a mission statement and learning about the call of God on our lives.
(Sorry, it goes in reverse order- you have to scroll to the bottom to get day 1 and work up the list: You can access it here:   MY AIM)
All of this has caused be to change how I do resolutions....
Instead of making a new year's resolution, I take a year to do monthly 'house keeping' around my life mission statement.
My calendar is based primarily around the energy I need for a successful school year....
My year always goes something like this:
In January - I take some time to pray through my year- evaluating the year before and thinking about future desires. I usually take a THEME for me as a point of emphasis. 
February is a FAST of some kind= 28 days to do without. One year it was social media- last year it was caffeine- what am I addicted to? What types of things are idols in my life.
March is either Momentum march or mediocre March and I have to get in the first few weeks to see how I am doing...... it basically is 'hang on until Spring Break'!
April is very important- It is the real beginning of my year. It is 'the cruelest month'- it is a tough eating and exercise plan and very regimented- but it is a good time to do it because of the nicer weather... nature helps here.
May is 'mission statement'- this is where I re-visit- God's primary calling, His secondary calling, changes in my life purpose statement...
JUNE/JULY- Energy and joy- I love summers- the longer days- key planing
August- "ALL IN" - PEDAL TO THE METAL
September/October- Priorities/Prayer- execution. A commitment to quality.
November- ‘No Gain November’… this is when I usually do the worst on eating. My main goal is to weigh the same or less on Nov 1 and Dec. 1. This year I did awesome- but December was a bust.....
December- Reflection, Rest (Christmas Break), and Evaluation. The most critical part of evaluation is going back over the goals in specific areas- spiritual, financial, family, home improvement, physical, and professional.
SPIRITUAL PURSUITS
Never leave out spiritual disciplines....
I have a blog devoted to 1 year of devotions if you want some encouragement.

https://jayopsisdevos.wordpress.com/

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